16 Replies Latest reply on May 11, 2013 2:11 PM by Harm Millaard

    Where is the bottleneck in my system?

    inthewildproductions

      Hi all, I've spent hours reading the forums and have learned a lot but still not enough to determine the easiest and best steps to increase my system speed. I'm using CS5 to burn std def DVDs from AVCHD files on an SD card (please, no lectures on downgrading quality, its just what I need to do for my clients). Each project is about 40min of footage (80 or so clips shot in 1080p30 AVCHD), the only editing I do is adding a fade in and fade out, and removing a few unwanted clips. I use: Adobe Dynamic Link - Send to Encore where I burn a DVD. Very simple yet it takes approx 60min to transcode 40 minutes of footage then just a few minutes to burn the DVD. I'm hoping to shorten this time. Here are my system specs:

       

      MoboASUS P6T Deluxe V2 Intel X58
      ProcessorIntel Core i7-920
      RAMCorsair XMS3 12GB (6x2gb) DDR3 1333
      Boot DriveWD 750GB 7200RPM SATA 32MB
      Project/Scratch DriveWD 1TB 7200RPM SATA 32MB
      Media DriveWD 1TB 7200RPM SATA 32MB
      CaseCooler Master HAD 932 Full Tower
      PowerCorsair 750W
      DVD driveLite-On 24x DVD Writer SATA w. lightscribe
      Graphics CardSapphire Radeon HD 4850 512MB HDCP Ready
      OSWindows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit OEM

       

      I do not have a NVIDEA card and I have not maxed out my RAM. Would the NVIDEA card help speed this process (Encore transcoding the footage)? Would more RAM?

       

      Can you suggest a decent video card for this 2yo home built system (I'm comfortable hacking the .txt file)? Is there a limit on how much RAM I can use with this system?

       

      I really really appreciate any advice!

       

      -Chris Hamilton

        • 1. Re: Where is the bottleneck in my system?
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          Chris,

           

          With your workflow, AVCHD -->> MPEG2-DVD, you will benefit greatly from a nVidia CUDA capable card with at least 1 GB VRAM because every frame needs to be rescaled from 1920 x 1080 to 720 x 480 (NTSC) or 729 x 576 (PAL). This is GPU accelerated. Roughly speaking that gives a 20 fold performance gain.

           

          If you register on this site, PPBM6 and login, you can navigate to PPBM6 Results and see what the impact is of a CUDA enabled card in the columns MPEG2-DVD and MPE Gain. This specific test is a single AVCHD track with lots of effects exported to MPEG2-DVD, just like your workflow. Unfortunately you can't submit your results, because you don't have a suitable GPU card installed, but you can get an idea of how much time you could possibly gain by running the test anyway and seeing for yourself how long this specific test takes.

           

          The second bottleneck is the amount of memory. 12 GB is about the bare minimum on your mobo, but one wonders if it is wise to invest in extra memory on such a dated system. The third bottleneck is the clock speed. You would get a clear performance gain if you were to overclock to around 3.8 GHz.

          • 2. Re: Where is the bottleneck in my system?
            inthewildproductions Level 1

            Thanks for the thoughtful reply Harm. I expect that any of the video cards commonly and recently discussed in this forum will work with CS5 (with the hack)? Such as the GTX 660 Ti? I will consult a more technically adept friend about maxxing my RAM and overclocking.

             

            :-)

            • 3. Re: Where is the bottleneck in my system?
              Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

              I completely second Harm's suggestions.  You might want to look at an nVidia GTX 660 or a GTX 650 Ti Boost card for your system.  Also you might have to try a slightly different workflow that I use all the time for my AVCHD to DVD projects.  I Export to MPEG2-DVD directly from Premiere and then Import into Encore the m2v and wav files to the Encore Timeline.  My 64 minute video only required 20 minutes to Direct Export to Encore and then a few more minutes in Encore to create the iso image file.  Of course I have an overclocked CPU similar to yours with 24 GB of RAM and a GTX 680.so you will not get the same time compression but it should be better than what you have.

              • 4. Re: Where is the bottleneck in my system?
                RjL190365 Level 4

                Chris,

                 

                In addition to what Harm and Bill stated, be aware that Encore CS5 was still only a 32-bit program while Premiere Pro CS5 was 64-bit exclusive. In addition, Encore still does not support GPU acceleration, so if you're using Dynamic Link to send a high definition timeline in Premiere Pro to a DVD project in Encore, a large portion of MPE GPU acceleration would be disused because then all of the scaling and downsizing is performed entirely in software (the MPEG-2 encoder used by Encore, in this case).

                • 5. Re: Where is the bottleneck in my system?
                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                  Bill gave some very good suggestions for a video card in your current system. In general I would say that spending around 7 - 10 % of your total hardware cost (excluding monitors, keyboard, speakers, and other peripherals) on a video card is usually a basis for a balanced system, where you do not overspend on one component in relation to the other components.

                   

                  I'm working on a decision tree to help people decide on what the best graphics card for their system might be, depending on the source material, the other components and their exports, but I have not yet finished that. In your specific case I was not as explicit as Bill, because I foresee - in the not too distant future - a moment when you decide to upgrade your system from the i7-920 to a more capable system.  Mind you, the i7-920 is a very capable CPU. My own old 'Harm's Beast' which is an i7-920 still ranks # 49 in the PPBM5 Benchmark but it is getting pretty dated.

                   

                  With your current system a GTX 650 Ti Boost is more than enough to make a very noticeable performance jump. Anything more expensive like the 660 Ti, 670, 680 or even Titan only makes sense if your next system will be much more capable and fully loaded.

                  • 6. Re: Where is the bottleneck in my system?
                    inthewildproductions Level 1

                    Thanks for the great advice everyone. new video card, ram and cpu cooler on their way from NewEgg.

                     

                    Bill, thanks for the suggestion, but you may be interested to know that the 40 minute project that takes Encore 60min to encode and burn a DVD of, takes over 120min for Premiere to export as a MPEG-2 DVD! And that's before importing into Encore and burning a DVD. Once I install the video card, overclock and add more RAM I will try that workflow again to see if it improves my time.

                     

                    I'll post the results when I get the system upgraded.

                     

                    Do you guys know if Encore in CS6 is 64 bit and/or supports GPU acceleration?

                     

                    Thanks again all!

                    • 7. Re: Where is the bottleneck in my system?
                      RjL190365 Level 4

                       

                      inthewildproductions wrote:

                       

                      Bill, thanks for the suggestion, but you may be interested to know that the 40 minute project that takes Encore 60min to encode and burn a DVD of, takes over 120min for Premiere to export as a MPEG-2 DVD! And that's before importing into Encore and burning a DVD. Once I install the video card, overclock and add more RAM I will try that workflow again to see if it improves my time.

                       

                      This is because the automatic setting in Encore defaults to 1-pass VBR, while you might have had Premiere set to export 2-pass VBR.

                      • 8. Re: Where is the bottleneck in my system?
                        Harm Millaard Level 7

                        In CS6 AE, AME, BR, Encore, IL, PS, PR and SG are all 64 bit applications.

                        • 9. Re: Where is the bottleneck in my system?
                          inthewildproductions Level 1

                          Thanks but I was sure to set it to 1-pass.

                          • 10. Re: Where is the bottleneck in my system?
                            Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                            inthewildproductions wrote:

                             

                            Bill, thanks for the suggestion, but you may be interested to know that the 40 minute project that takes Encore 60min to encode and burn a DVD of, takes over 120min for Premiere to export as a MPEG-2 DVD! And that's before importing into Encore and burning a DVD. Once I install the video card, overclock and add more RAM I will try that workflow again to see if it improves my time.

                             

                            I'll post the results when I get the system upgraded.

                             

                            Do you guys know if Encore in CS6 is 64 bit and/or supports GPU acceleration?

                             

                            Thanks again all!

                            I will almost guarantee that that 120 minutes with Direct Export from Premiere will drop down to around 10-15 minutes once you install that nVidia card!

                            • 11. Re: Where is the bottleneck in my system?
                              inthewildproductions Level 1

                              I look forward to that! Any idea how much more quickly that would be with a new machine (plenty of RAM, nice video card, almost top of the line processor)? If I can get that time down to 5 minutes it could revolutionize how I run my business.

                               

                              Cheers,

                              Chris

                              • 12. Re: Where is the bottleneck in my system?
                                Harm Millaard Level 7

                                Reread #1 and try the MPEG2-DVD test yourself and then compare it to published results. That will give you an inkling of what can be expected.As a rough indication, if your results are, say 1500 seconds now without hardware MPE, you can expect them to be around 80 - 120 seconds with a suitable video card on the current system. So, with your current system, your average timeline export, which now takes up to 60 minutes, would be reduced to around 4 - 6 minutes and on a faster system even more.

                                • 13. Re: Where is the bottleneck in my system?
                                  JEShort01 Level 4

                                  Chris,

                                   

                                  Your question is interesting and I have done some playing around to hopefully shed some light on ways you can spend money and gain speed for your workflow.

                                   

                                  All testing was done on a high-end X58 system (i7-970 6-core, 4 GHz, 24GB RAM, GTX 480, big fast RAID).

                                   

                                  I set up a multi-clip AVCHD 40 minute project and exported from CS5 and CS6 directly out to MPEG2-DVD format using the NTSC 23.97 Widescreen high quality preset for each test; see results and comments below:

                                   

                                  Test 1: CS5, no GPU = ~ 18 minutes; CPU pretty much pegged at 100% whole time, 10GB of RAM utilized

                                  Test 2: CS5, w/ GPU = ~ 14 minutes; CPU around 50%, GPU around 85%, 10GB of RAM utilized

                                  Test 3: CS6, no GPU = ~ 11 minutes; CPU around 100%, 19GB of RAM utilized
                                  Test 4: CS6, w/ GPU = ~ 6 minutes; CPU around 90%, GPU not measured (sorry), 19GB of RAM utilized


                                  And one more thing - you should try copying the AVCHD files from the card to one of your HDs before you import into Premiere (cards are glacial compared to HDs).

                                   

                                  Regards,

                                   

                                  Jim

                                  • 14. Re: Where is the bottleneck in my system?
                                    RjL190365 Level 4

                                    In addition to what I stated previously, importing directly from an SD card is another severe bottleneck (as Jim stated):

                                     

                                    Your SD card(s) really cannot read any faster than 20 MB/s. That is the limitation of all SD card readers and cards without UHS capability. In addition, UHS cards used in a non-UHS reader are also limited to 20 MB/s maximum. Upgrading to an nVidia GPU will not do you much good with your current workflow because Premiere and Encore still must wait for the SD card to finish its read operation before the NLE can process the footage. And that 20 MB/s maximum sequential transfer speed of the fastest non-UHS SD card is slower than the maximum practical bandwidth of even USB 2.0! No wonder why you get hesitation during transcodes.

                                     

                                    By the way, you did not specify which exact brand and model of SD card and card reader you were using.

                                    • 15. Re: Where is the bottleneck in my system?
                                      inthewildproductions Level 1

                                      JEShort01 - interesting that your system processed a similar project in 18 min (using CS5 and no GPU) that my system takes 120min. I'm guessing that's because of your faster processor and more RAM? Why do you suppose CS5 only uses half of your (and my) RAM when transcoding? Looks like your test with CS6 was able to utilize more RAM but still not all.

                                       

                                      Great advice on transferring the files from the SD card to a hard drive before importing into Premiere. However, I did a test with the same footage on the hard drive and it still took 120min. How mightI speed up that transfer from the SD card to the HD? It took 4 min. Is the card speed the bottleneck, or the card reader (i'm currently just using a USB 2 sd card reader) Would a new itnerally installed card reader have a more direct (faster) connection?  The cards I'm using are SanDisk Extreme 45MB/s SDHC #10 16GB.

                                       

                                      I'm also considering new cameras that have the option of recording in AVCHD or MP4. Would the MP4 files be faster to transcode into MPEG2-DVD than the AVCHD is?

                                       

                                      Your help has been invaluable to me everyone. Thanks again!

                                      • 16. Re: Where is the bottleneck in my system?
                                        Harm Millaard Level 7

                                        AVCHD is just a specific form of MP4. XDCAM EX is also wrapped in a MP4 format, but is just MPEG2. The codec is the issue for performance, not how it is wrapped.